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Welcome to the third dimension! On this site you will learn everything about Nintendo's Virtual Reality experiment, the Virtual Boy. Released back in 1995 only in Japan and North America, the system failed all along the line and disappeared from the market less than a year later, quietly and without any official word. Only 22 games were released for the Virtual Boy during its short lifespan. Here we want to build a memorial for this unique oddity of videogame history. Dedicated to its brilliant creator, Gunpei Yokoi.


Yan's World Patreon campaign started

Yan's World, a cute, Virtual Boy style platform game starring a pillow-throwing onion, has been in development for PC for a few years by Heraga (aka Nin) and his team. A Patreon campaign has just been started to fund the further development of the game, including a port to the actual Virtual Boy.


How to work around the VB's color limitations

Three shades of red plus black, that's it regarding colors on the Virtual Boy. But there are tricks to work around this limitation and experimenting with these has been on my TO DO list for a long time.

Time to tick that off. Here's a simple demo demonstrating three different ways to display more than four colors on the Virtual Boy simultaneously. These are:

1. Dither

We're starting off with good ol' dithering. OK, this is technically cheating since we do not really show more than 4 colors at once, but still, dithering at least creates a good illusion of a more color rich images, while not relying on any technical trickery.

2. Column Table

Through the Column Table's brightness repeat register, it is possible to change the amount of light emitted by the display LEDs (and thus the perceived brightness) every fourth pixel column.

This allows for a huge range of different shades of red on screen at the same time, but practical use cases are very limited, since you're bound to the grid of 4px columns and brightness changes always affecting the whole screen height.

3. Blending

This one is the heart of this demo and the actual show piece. By exploiting the persistence of vision effect of the human eye it is possible to display 8 different colors on screen at the same time.

It works by blending together two images, that is overlaying one image with another, half transparent one. Half transparency is achieved by simply displaying that image only every second frame.

Beware that this trick does not work very well on emulators but produces pretty stable colors on real hardware.



Project MAIDEN announced

trailboss has announced MAIDEN, a rail shooter that aims to land on Virtual Boy and Steam in early 2019.

MAIDEN is a rail shooter in which colossal humanoid robots known as Maidens fuel a global struggle over resources. You control a team of pilots fighting their neighboring country over an energy mine. Your team is underfunded, understaffed, and ill-prepared for the battle ahead, but you're willing to fight until your dying breath. You'll venture across cities, deserts, forests, and mountains both in air and on land. The world of MAIDEN comes alive thanks to a mixture of hand-drawn pixel art and prerendered 3D models. MAIDEN aims to be the ultimate Virtual Boy technical showcase.

A Kickstarter campaign is said to happen next month. Check out the MAIDEN Development Thread for more information and regular development updates.


PVB Emulator Fundraiser started

Guy Perfect has started a Patreon fundraising campaign to work full-time on the PVB Emulator project, which aims to create a Virtual Boy emulator for 3DS, alongside other cool things.

Virtual Boy on the go, in its full stereoscopic 3D glory, available to millions of players. If you too think this sounds awesome, head over to the announcement forum thread for all the juicy details.


Virtual Lab English version patch released

Thunderstruck has released a simple "translation" patch for Virtual Lab, which is basically a hack, since all texts in the Japanese version also have an English translation next to them. The patch removes the Japanese text and moves the English text on the Precaution screen a bit to mimic what an official US release might have looked like. Get it here.